Classic Chef Cook-Off

Sunday, November 10, 2013 (
3:00pm to 6:00pm

Join Slow Food NYC and our host partner, the NYU Food Studies Program, as competitive cooks honor their personal culinary icons at the first SFNYC Classic Chef Cook-Off, a friendly, judged cooking competition and public tasting event.

Today’s culinary inspirations include the ever-popular classic Julia Child, innovative farm-to-table chef and educator Dan Barber, television superstar chef Jamie Oliver and award-winning cookbook author Paula Wolfert. Come taste for yourself! Whether it’s a dish from an iconic chef’s repertoire or an original recipe inspired by a culinary classic.

Our panel of food experts will award prizes based on:

-        The degree to which dishes reflect the work of their personal iconic Classic Chef

-        Chef’s use of local, seasonal, and, when appropriate, fair or direct traded ingredients

-        And importantly, presentation and TASTE

Judges include chef and culinary historian Renee Marton, New York food blogger Tove Danovich and a SFNYC Snail of Approval chef.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the programs of not-for-profit Slow Food NYC, including the Urban Harvest program of good food education for kids at 17 New York City schools and a summer urban farm in East New York.

Location: NYU Food Studies Kitchen - 35 West 4th St. (btwn. Wash Sq. E & Greene St.) 10th Floor; Manhattan
Date and Time: Sunday, November 10, 2013
VIP 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
General Public 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm


 Alicia Water is the Chef of La Scuola at Eataly NY.  You'll find her teaching cooking classes about Italian food and culture, hosting an eclectic mix of celebrity chefs and authors and presiding over Pranzo, their lunch restaurant.  Alicia has been published in Eating Well and Vegetarian Times magazines. She was recently named one of New York City’s 10 Healthiest Chefs by Well+Good NYC.

I am planning to make Bollito Misto in the spirit of Dan Barber. In one of the many interviews with Chef Dan Barber, he refers to the concept of Stone Barns as "an intoxicating possibility". This might be an apt way to describe Chef Barber's approach to his cuisine as well as the learning center where one of his restaurants is housed.  His innovations, from carving carrots tableside to working directly with breeders and farmers to develop ingredients of his specifications, speak to the creativity and vision of this chef.  This vast vision is my inspiration. 

The vegetables, all parts including the edible sections that sometimes end up in the compost pile, will be skillfully butchered, boiled and served with a playful salsa verde using pickles instead of capers.  The appetizers will be served on skewers.

Angela Rivera is a Natural Food Chef and educator. Her passion for food has stretched far beyond the norm of just cooking for people. She has taught both children and adults both privately in her own business Chop Culinary Arts and with many nonprofits in the Hudson Valley. She has also run a work program at The Children’s Village a large residential facility for adolescents where she ran a café on campus teaching the kids how to run a restaurant, cater and prepare for a career in the industry. She also implemented life skills such as etiquette classes, dining out and helped them retain certificates through Servsafe. She has catered for the first lady of Guatemala, the French consulate and many other visitors of The Children’s Village.

Chef Angela has a passion to teach children how to cook and how to do it healthy in hopes that it will bring a bond with families again. Her vision is to see Sunday dinners brought back to the dinner table and have the younger generation be the ones to bring it back. When Chef Angela isn’t teaching or cooking she is spending time with her four children doing anything from running them to their extra-curricular activities to going to the movies with them and trying to be a “cool mom”. She is also very social and enjoys cooking for her friends and having a “girls” night in her small apartment that sits along the Hudson River.

I love Giada.  She has been my inspiration since I started cooking way before culinary school.  I love how simple her recipes are and I love how she sits and eats with friends at the end of each show.  I follow this same style in my own classes and it has formed friendships out of strangers both for myself and my students.  I also love how a lot of her recipes originate from her family, there is nothing better than a recipe handed down from generation to generation.  The recipe I will be using is a family recipe handed down several generations from my boyfriend’s very traditional very Italian family that still observes Sunday dinner regularly. I have put a simple culinary spin on it but have not changed much to keep its originality.  I hope everyone enjoys this as much as we do during our Sunday dinners.

Recipe: Autumn Bruschetta

Mary Elizabeth Prall is a San Diego native who grew up in an agricultural town that fueled a strong passion for sustainable and local food. She studied culinary arts in San Francisco and later moved to Brooklyn where she worked for One Girl Cookies and Mast Brothers Chocolate. Most recently she spent four months cooking with the Rome Sustainable Food Project and working on a sheep farm in Northern Italy. Currently she is an urban farming apprentice with Brooklyn Grange and an outreach fellow with 596 Acres, a non-profit land advocacy organization.

Her inspiration, Giorgio Locatelli is a chef whose strong ethic values shine through his cooking: a continual focus on local and sustainable products, merging aspects of regional Italian technique and flavor with the produce and products of London.  He is a supporter of the Slow Food movement, and advocate for the improvement of school lunch nutrition. 

Giorgio Locatelli was born in 1962 and grew up working in his family’s Michelin starred restaurant in a small Northern Italian in the region of Lombardy.  In his late teens he began apprenticing in Northern Italy and Austria, and later worked in Paris and England, at the notable Savoy Hotel in London.   In 1995 he opened his first restaurant, Locanda Locatelli, which won a Michelin star in 2003 and has retained it since. He has also been featured on several television series in the United Kingdom.  In 2006 came out with his own book, Made In Italy, which is a detailed compilation of recipes dotted throughout with tales of Locatelli’s lifelong love affair with food.

Recipe: Roasted agrodolce (sweet & sour) onion, cauliflower & grain salad topped with dressed arugula & fried herbs

Melinda Tracy is a Brooklyn-based chef and a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts.  Currently Executive Chef for an investment advisor, Melinda has worn many hats in the food world, including restaurant chef, personal chef, caterer, and culinary instructor. She recently launched  NUTS & BOLTS Brooklyn, an artisan baked goods company that handcrafts small-batch gluten-free granola and cookies that are 100% organic and maple syrup sweetened.  This business is a reflection of her purist food philosophy and passion for creating innovative and delicious food using exceptionally high quality ingredients from ethical sources.  And sharing it!

Inspired by Paula Wolfert's seemingly unquenchable curiosity about food, its origins, traditional preparations and respect for authenticity, I am influenced by her in my philosophy about cooking and sharing meals. I tend toward simple, rustic preparations that feature the ingredients "as themselves."  Paula Wolfert has been said to prepare meals for friends under the guise of recipe testing, which is something I often do.  In a sense, every time I cook it is a recipe test because the ingredients are never exactly the same and the dishes are always evolving.  It's always about exploration and being with what is there at that moment.

Recipe: Braised Short Ribs with Prunes and Pearl Onions, Parsnip-Celeriac-Rutabaga Mash

Olivia Roszkowski graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Neuroscience and Behavior. After completing the Chef's Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute, she worked as a line cook at Jean-Georges' The Mercer Kitchen, David Chang's Momofuku Ssam Bar, as well as Danny Meyer's Union Square Events. She is currently a culinary instructor at the Natural Gourmet Institute, a private chef, and recently founded Chef To The Pups.  She strives to use local, sustainable, and organic ingredients and enjoys being a member of the Park Slope Food Coop. Follow Olivia's latest culinary happenings at

My inspiration Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D. has spent decades teaching students how to cook with integrity.  She founded the Natural Gourmet Institute in 1977 in her own kitchen with a mission to teach whole food, health-supportive cooking before it has taken root in the mainstream.  The education I received has taken my cooking leaps and bounds in utilizing local and seasonal ingredients.  Annemarie has taken the Natural Gourmet to a level where plant-based ingredients are celebrated and allowed to take center stage in creative, delicious ways.

Recipe: vegan miniature caramelized vegetable tartlets with an herb crust

Ronit Penzo I was born in Israel, to a family with origins from all over the Mediterranean, where cooking everything from scratch was a given. It took me a while to realize not everyone is as fortunate as I was, and to understand the need to educate people about cooking and about food history. After getting my BA in Philosophy and Comparative literature, I decided to attend New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, and since then I have been involved in diverse aspects of the culinary field.

I have worked as a hands-on chef in many establishments, always preferring small ones, where I could cook small quantities from scratch and work with local ingredients. I currently work as a private chef based in New York.

I have been a food writer ever since I’ve started working as a chef. In my articles, I encourage people to cook from scratch, and make them understand the origins of ingredients and dishes. My first cookbook (“3 courses in 30 Minutes”) was published in Israel 5 years ago. The book is all about cooking quick meals while using fresh ingredients. I am now gathering materials for a second book and also keep a food blog Tasty Eats, which is all about cooking from scratch at home.

I would like to make my take on Julia Childs’ French Onion Soup, from her book "The Way to Cook". In this dish, Julia Child showed the Americans that even the most ordinary vegetable could be the base to a hearty and satisfying dish. I also like it because onion soup is an all-man soup. The seemingly plain onion is transformed into an exquisite soup simply by taking the time to caramelize it. This soup uses inexpensive and available produce, and is a true example of what “slow food” really means. 

I don’t follow Child’s recipe to the letter, but rather, make my own version of it. I use her methods and quantities as a base to my recipe. The major difference is that unlike in her recipe, I don’t use beef stock, not because I’m a vegetarian, but because I don’t like to mask the vegetable flavors by adding beef or chicken stock. I prefer to add water, vegetable stock and wine instead. I also don’t add Cognac or Vermouth, and substitute the sugar in her recipe with local honey and maplesyrup. Another difference is I use different types of onions and leeks instead of the one type of onion as in her recipe. 

I plan to serve the soup with a cheese cookie, made with Vermont cheddar, instead of the Parmesan or Swiss cheese in the recipe.

Tito Dudley was born and raised in New York City. My mother is from Panama and she brought the family up around Spanish flavors. My cooking journey started at a young age cooking with my parents. When I got diagnosed with cancer at the age of 15, my family and I began to look at food differently and started to make healthier choices with our lifestyle. I eventually became a Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach, and a Natural Bodybuilder. I eventually decided to go to culinary school at the Natural Gourmet of Healthy and Culinary Arts and graduated and became a Natural Food Chef. Since then I've worked at a few restaurants such as Aamann Coperhagen located in TriBeCa, I cook for private clients, I'm one of the head chefs for a cancer organization called First Descents and I fund my own cooking show online called Simple Eats with Chef T, which can be seen at www.SimpleEats.TV. My goal is to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle through fitness and food. I love working with local, organic & natural ingredients and making creative healthy dishes that look and taste delicious! 

Chef Madison Cowan is a person that I truly admire. I love his story. He went from being homeless in the streets to becoming a Celebrity Chef. I think that is remarkable. From being in a situation that has you so down and out, he found it in himself to get up each day and try to make a difference in his future. I can truly sympathize with his story. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and honestly I felt like my life was just cut short but, with my faith in god, the support of my family & friends I found the inspiration and motivation to not give up on myself. I love his humbleness in the kitchen, his passion for food, and his commitment to his family. He is truly a family man and a role model.

Recipe: Bun less Bison Sliders with Root Vegetable Aioli, Spicy Salsa & Crispy Shallots

Related Program:  Slow U.